Tom’s Top Ten…Bands

Elastic, clearly number one. Just ahead of charity wristbands. No, this is my Top Ten list of musical bands. This is a tough one…so read on and see who sits where.

I love music. Probably more than 93% of things in life. I’ve already done one music-themed Top Ten on this blog (and, yeah, there will be plenty more to come) so here is my second one where I bring you my Top Ten Bands.

This was a very tough exercise and there are a number of bands I would have included had it been something like ‘Tom’s Tom Twenty’ – saying that, even then there’d be some to miss out that I’d want to include.

Alas, I was able to whittle it down to a set of ten of my favourite bands. So I guess I may as well start typing stuff about them; like when I got into them, favourite songs, have I seen them live…blah blah blah, that kind of thing.

Firstly, I should mention a few bands which didn’t make it onto this list for the simple fact that if I had included everyone I wanted to, I likely wouldn’t be bothered to write about each and every single one. Plus it’d be a freaking massive list as well.

So who didn’t make it; New Found Glory, Don Broco, Silverstein, Good Charlotte, Killswitch Engage, Sum 41, Kids in Glass Houses, Green Day, Funeral for a Friend, Hey Monday, Lostprophets, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, 30 Seconds To Mars, Blitz Kids…countless others as well that I’ve probably overlooked.

Onto the list that actually matters and what you’re probably here for.

From ten to one…here we go.

TEN – New Year’s Day

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So, kicking off my list at ten is a band called New Year’s Day. They were formed in Anaheim, California back in 2005 and, it’s fair to say, they sound a lot different now to what they did back then.

They were one of the original ‘MySpace’ bands that got big on that social media site – in fact I definitely had their song ‘Ready, Aim, Misfire’ as my profile song. For a few days at least, I was notorious for changing that on a regular basis.

However it wasn’t MySpace that I first came across them. It was actually on the original Saints Row game where they were on one of the radio stations in the game and I spent many, many hours just listening to their song on repeat. Funny where you can find bands you end up liking a lot.

Anyway, back when I discovered them they were a paint-by-numbers, pop-punk type band with a hella cute female lead singer. Yes, they were probably compared to Paramore far too many times…probably led to their drastic change where they now no longer “rip off Paramore” and are instead purveyors of alternative, post-hardcore, gothic metal-type sounds instead.

Thing is though, I really like them these days – well, duh, they wouldn’t make this list otherwise – and I think it might be because of the change. If they had stayed with their pop-punk roots, perhaps they would have been just another band but they’re really good in their current form.

They rarely tour the UK though so I have never had the opportunity to see them live. Sad. One day I will.

So, for my favourite song of theirs…I’ll go with…I’m No Good.

NINE – Fightstar

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Many tears were shed in the Donlan household when it was announced that Charlie Simpson was quitting Busted and starting up a band called Fightstar – no, they weren’t my tears. Honest.

Anyway, Fightstar are an incredible band and deservedly find themselves on the list at number 9. Seems like they’ve been around forever and that’s because they have – even with breaks for Charlie Simpson to do his own solo work (which, I must add, is pretty darn good) before their triumphant return back in 2014. Charlie’s even got time to go back and make hella cash with Busted.

Fightstar are one of those rare bands that I’ve liked from the first song I heard by them – Palahniuk’s Laughter from their debut EP ‘They Liked You Better When You Were Dead’ if you’re wondering. From there, they released the incredible ‘Grand Unification’, ‘One Day Son This Will All Be Yours’ and ‘Be Human’. Some bands on this list might have only released one album that I have really liked, these guys managed three!

Picking out a favourite song by these guys is very tough. I think I’d have to go with We Apologise For Nothing.

EIGHT – Evanescence

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The second female-fronted band to make it onto my Top Ten list and it’s the turn of gothic metal band Evanescence. A band that have changed their members so many times over the years but still Amy Lee remains the lead singer – which is good, bands changing lead singers is strange.

So, yeah, Evanescence are another band on this list that has been around forever and one I’ve liked for a very long time. I do remember them getting mainstream attention with ‘Bring Me To Life’ whilst I was still in high school – which goes to show how damn long it has been that they’ve been around. Heck, they’ve been around even longer than that; forming back in 1995 (according to Wikipedia, which is a reliable source.).

Still, it wasn’t until around 2003 when I first came across them and, to be honest, who doesn’t know ‘Bring Me To Life’? One of those rare rock songs that hit #1 in the Official Charts – which, back in those days, was a pretty big deal and something people cared about religiously. Can’t remember exactly but did they perform on Top of the Pops as well? Crazy times, man.

For a band that’s been around for as long as Evanescence have, it’s almost surprising that they have only released 3 full studio albums; suppose the chopping and changing of band members plus the hiatus they went on between 2012 and 2015 doesn’t help to make new music.

Still, they’ve released three excellent albums in their time and there are a lot of incredible songs in amongst them. Picking a favourite track of theirs though…I’ll go with One Last Breath. One that’s a bit less well known…unless you’re a fan of old-school TNA Wrestling and you may remember it.

SEVEN – Blink 182

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I don’t think it’s possible to class yourself as a fan of ‘pop punk’ music (as I do) and not be a massive fan of Blink 182, these days they’re probably seen as the “grandfathers” of the genre given that they’ve been around since 1992.

It wasn’t until the early ‘noughties’ that I discovered and became a fan of theirs with the release of the incredible ‘Take Off Your Pants And Jacket’ that came out in 2001. Packed with hit after hit after hit…and “Happy Holidays You Bastard”, still listen to a lot of the songs off of that album now.

As much as I like Blink 182, I dislike that Tom DeLonge is no longer part of the band. Yeah, things happened behind the scenes between the trio which seemingly made him leaving a foregone conclusion but it’s still sad. Who doesn’t love the over-exaggerated Tom voice when singing along to their songs? I still like them but probably not as much as I used to – but, hey, they’re still seventh in my list so that’s pretty good.

As far as a favourite song of theirs…Always? Yeah, let’s go with that one.

SIX – My Chemical Romance

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I wondered about putting now-defunct bands on this list and whether I should just stick to those who continue to make music now – there are a fair few ex-bands in my list that didn’t make the list but I call the shots around here and it’s final; My Chemical Romance are in as my #6 favourite band. Sue me.

Another band that I have liked for a long, long time. Another which date back to high school days where my fandom of the band led to me being labelled as an ’emo’ – which I guess is fair and beats other cruel nicknames that I could have been given. I’ll take being emo. Alas, school children are dicks.

So, My Chemical Romance. Though I wasn’t a fan of their final album, that didn’t do enough to completely ruin the memory of the excellence which preceded that awful, awful thing. Probably hyperbole here but ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ might be one of my favourite albums of all time, could just listen to it non-stop for days on end. Maybe I was deserving of that emo tag after all…

The goodness doesn’t stop there though – their ‘Black Parade’ album brought them a lot of mainstream attention and the title track even spent time at #1 in the charts. “Sell outs” the haters would say but, again, the album was superb and I’m definitely not mad that many more people got to listen to it because they got some mainstream attention – bands like them deserve it. Gerard Way in particular, what a talented guy.

As for a favourite song by them…I would say ‘WTTBP’ but I’ve got that in another list on here and, as good as it is, I think I will give this honor to I’m Not OK. Emo.

FIVE – McFly

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All these rock/emo bands and then we get to number 5 and there’s a pop band? OK then. But, hear me out, I really like McFly and they are definitely deserving of a top 5 spot in my list of Top Ten bands. Anyway, if you don’t like it, tough…it’s my list. Go do your own and don’t include McFly. Or do if they’re actually a band you’re a fan of.

Anyway, enough blabbering. I love listening to pop music in amongst all the loud, shouty, bangy music I tend to listen to and it’s fair to say I have a soft spot for McFly when it comes to pop music. They’ve released a lot of exceptional pop songs that are both catchy and meaningful in the same breath; that Tom Fletcher, he’s supremely talented. So are the others but Tom…

Another band that I have grown up listening to – seeing as they first came out in 2003 with the incredibly catchy ‘5 Colours In Her Hair’ and my liking of them as a band grew from that moment on. Their second album is also just as good and contains one of my all-time favourite songs in ‘I’ll Be OK’. One of those songs that I instantly feel happy when listening to. Lame.

Not ashamed to admit that I am a fan of theirs…do think I might be a bit out of place were I to ever attend a McFly concert though. That might be awkward…

Still, they make it onto my list as the only pop band. Guess that’s an honour in itself. But which song have I chosen as my favourite of theirs? Obviously. Because, well, it’s good…obviously.

FOUR – Trivium

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Top four time and just missing out on the bronze medal position is Trivium. Yet another band that’s been around forever (yeah, I think I might have said this about every single band that has featured on this list. Probably why I like most of them.) and one which I got into when at college. Wearing a Trivium shirt was my ticket into the inner sanctum of the rockers, fond memories.

Anyway, they’re probably the heaviest band that made it onto this list – maybe the heaviest band I listen to on a regular basis; not exactly my most favourite of genres is metal but I made an exception for Trivium and have been a big fan of them for years and years. Since Ascendancy at least – yeah, they were around before then but I hadn’t heard of them.

I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them live – still rue missing them at the Victoria Hall back in the day; stupid EMA payments not being enough to get me a ticket. Plus they apparently played The Sugarmill before they made it big. Bummer. Still, one day I’ll probably get to see them and be miles away from the circle pits and walls of death. Eww, no thanks.

So, a favourite song? Drowned And Torn Asunder would get that honour

THREE – Tonight Alive

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It’s taken a while but we finally have an Australian band on this list; though, in saying that, I don’t think there are any other Australian bands which I like. So that was a pointless introduction to this little section of words about Tonight Alive. Ah well.

Top 3. Only the really good and my most favourite of bands make it this high up so it’s no surprise that Tonight Alive are here as they fit both criteria. Though I was late to the Tonight Alive party – having only discovered them during ‘The Other Side’ era of the band – I’m now all fully caught up and part of the fandom. They’re really good.

Another female-fronted band on this list (3 I think with…cough…one more to come) but there’s nothing wrong with that, right? Yes, all are very attractive – and Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall is no different in that aspect – but they’re all exceptional singers in their own rights. Not completely shallow…honest. Plus she’s slightly younger than me but not so much so that it’s creepy that I like her. I think I might stop there…

So, yeah, Tonight Alive have been around a while and might actually be the newest band on this list having only formed in 2008 in Australia. Crikey, mate. 2011 saw them get their big break with ‘What Are You So Scared Of?’ – which, even though I never listened or had heard of it when it first came out, is a really good album and full of cracking tracks like ‘Breaking and Entering’ and ‘Starlight’.

As good as that is though, it’s nowhere near as good as second album ‘The Other Side’ was – one of those rare albums I can listen to non-stop without wanting/needing to skip a track because it isn’t very good. So many good songs on it, especially my favourite of theirs; ‘Come Home’. The video of that song is strange – like, really, what sane person would even consider breaking up with Miss McDougall? Idiot.

Then came their latest effort – Limitless. It was a bit different to their previous two albums but in a good way; nothing wrong with a band changing their sound as they mature as artists. It’s good but not as good as their last one. Saying that, ‘Drive’ and ‘How Does It Feel?’ are two immense tunes that deserve to be played on repeat forever.

When it comes to picking a favourite Tonight Alive song, I think it’s a no-brainer. Come Home.

TWO – Enter Shikari

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Just missing out on the #1 spot is St Albans’ finest, Enter Shikari. I’d say it was a tough call to put them in 2nd place but, really, it wasn’t that difficult. I love them but not in the same way as I do the band which made it to the top spot. Sorry guys.

Anyway – yeah, you’ve guessed it – I’ve been a fan of Enter Shikari for years. Not so much that I knew of them back in the underground days where they went by other names or when they originally put out ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ but from the time they released ‘Take To The Skies’ – which is 10 this year. TEN YEARS OLD. Fuck, man.

What a decade it has been since that album dropped. Still remember going into HMV on release day and picking that up – EMA stretched to the odd CD every now and then! Still, I took that album home, listened to it straight away and instantly loved it. Johnny Sniper might be my favourite off of it…or ‘Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour’…or ‘Mothership’…so tough choosing the best song off of it.

Then they followed that up with the incredible ‘Common Dreads’ that somehow surpasses TTTS in every possible way. They just keep on getting better with each and every release – at least in my incredibly-biased opinion. Common Dreads had yet more incredible songs on it including the likes of Juggernauts and No Sleep Tonight.

A Flash Flood Of Colour was next up for them and, once again, they managed to release something even better than their previous effort. Gandhi Mate, Gandhi and ‘Arguing With Thermometers’ two of the stand-out tracks on the album.

Finally came their most recent release, The Mindsweep. Perhaps the most politically-charged of their career to date; which, considering the content of all their albums up to this point, is saying quite a lot. Lyrically there aren’t many bands who come close to hitting the issues affecting us all in the world like Enter Shikari do on each song.

Whether it’s about the NHS, global warming or religion, there’s bound to be many tracks penned by Rou Reynolds that touches upon each subject. Perhaps that’s one of the main reasons I like them as a band. That and they are superb to listen to from a music perspective.

With such an excellent catalogue of songs to choose from, how do you pick just one favourite track? Easy. No Sleep Tonight.

ONE – Paramore

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And, now, at almost 3000 words since I started this damned list we’re here at my #1 favourite band and it’s the Hayley Williams-fronted Paramore. Not a surprise if you know me; massive Paramore fan. Parawhore? Maybe.

Like myself, Paramore have been around forever. Formed in 2004, they’re another band which have undergone a lot of change when it comes to band members associated to the name – Zac Farro has left and come back, Josh Farro left and never came back as did Jeremy Davis, Hunter Lamb and probably a couple of others along the way…then Taylor York came in and still remains.

All that change but one constant and that’s Hayley Williams. She literally IS Paramore. She is also probably my #1 hottest person in the world if I had a list of such things…and who says I don’t? Had a massive crush on Hayley for the longest time and not ashamed to admit it; heck, I had what appeared to be a shrine to the great woman on my University walls…so…yeah…that wasn’t at all weird.

Enough about how ridiculously hot she is though. How about the music of Paramore? Because they also do the music and do good music at that. Which is more than can be said about the English in that last sentence…and no I can’t be bothered changing it to something that actually makes sense.

2005 saw them release All We Know Is Falling and, after many times robbing my sister’s copy of it, I now have a copy of it of my own. A superb debut album from the band with the likes of ‘Emergency’ and ‘Pressure’ still ranking in amongst my favourite songs by Paramore. The sheer beauty of Hayley in the Emergency video certainly a plus point – oh, that’s not too creepy is it?

Following that up with 2007’s RIOT which is now almost TEN YEARS OLD. All this old music making me feel old, man. Still, to this day, it’s a cracking album and one which catapulted the band into superstardom in the rock/pop-punk world. Mainly thanks to ‘Misery Business’ which, whilst excellent in its own right, is not the best song on the album (that honour goes to the insane ‘That’s What You Get’…Hayley in that video, damn. Creep.) but RIOT is probably my #1 album all-time. I think. Just great song after great song after great song…seriously don’t think there is a bad song on the album. Bloody awesome.

If RIOT was that good, how could they follow that up? They somehow managed it 2009’s ‘Brand New Eyes’ which is just as good as their previous album – another one I can seriously listen to non-stop without skipping a single song on it. Some bands are lucky to have one album I feel like that towards but Paramore have 2? No wonder they are my favourite band. Proper good songs on that album, especially ‘Playing God’. Love that song…love pink-haired Hayley Williams in the video as well. Creep.

Last but not least, Paramore then released Paramore – well, after releasing a trio of singles in the ‘Singles Club;’ which all deserve a mention in their own right; especially as ‘Hello Cold World’ just so happens to be the #1 played song on my Google Play library…Renegade isn’t too far behind that either. Both brilliant tracks.

Onto the self-titled album and I like it. Not quite as much as the previous two albums, sure, but there are still some brilliant songs on the album and it definitely isn’t awful by any stretch of the imagination. Calling it my ‘least favourite’ album of theirs might seem harsh if it wasn’t for the fact how highly-rated the likes of RIOT and Brand New Eyes are in my estimations. Perhaps I would enjoy the latest album more if I wasn’t comparing it to them? Hell, I’m Still Into You….the song…and Hayley for that matter. Creep.

So, what’s next for my favourite band? A new album in the near-future one would expect – now with a returning Zac Farro on the drums. Will we ever see Josh back in the fold? Probably unlikely given the war of words he undertook with Hayley following his departure…but, hey, who knows.

Still, Paramore. My #1 favourite band and it’s probably not even close to anyone else. So what would be my favourite song by them??? That’s What You Get…woahohawoahohawoahoh

Freaking Paramore. Man. What a band.

Here’s the end of another of Tom’s Top Ten.

Letmeknowwhatyathink and all that kinda stuff…

T.

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